Israel bombs Gaza in response to violent border clashes

The Israeli army shelled the weapons sites of Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip early Sunday in response to a violent demonstration at the perimeter fence that left an Israeli police officer seriously injured, the army said.

Saturday’s violence erupted after hundreds of Palestinians participated in a demonstration organized by Hamas rulers in Gaza to draw attention to the Israeli-Egyptian blockade of the territory. The demonstration turned violent after dozens of people approached the fortified border fence and threw stones and explosives at Israeli soldiers from behind a curtain of black smoke billowing from burning tires.

At least 24 Palestinians, including a 13-year-old boy, were injured by Israeli gunfire, according to the Gaza Health Ministry. An Israeli border police officer was shot and seriously injured.

The army said in a statement that in response to the violent demonstrations, fighter jets attacked “four weapons manufacturing and storage sites” belonging to the Hamas rulers of Gaza, and that the army deployed additional troops to the region near the border with the Palestinian enclave. There were no immediate reports of injuries in the airstrikes.

Addressing the cabinet on Sunday, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said Israel “will settle accounts with those who harm our Israeli soldiers and civilians,” adding that the army is “ready for any scenario.”

Israel and Hamas are staunch enemies who have fought four wars and countless skirmishes since the militant Islamic group took control of Gaza in a 2007 coup, a year after winning the Palestinian elections.

The most recent round of fighting in May, an 11-day war waged to an inconclusive ceasefire, killed at least 254 people in Gaza, including 67 children and 39 women, according to the Gaza Health Ministry. Hamas has acknowledged the deaths of 80 militants. Twelve civilians, including two children, were killed in Israel, along with one soldier.


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